Title: Fathers and Sons
Disclaimers: Not mine...
"Colonel Sheppard, you have a letter from Earth, Sir." I stared at the Airman for a few minutes before accepting the letter. "Thanks," I replied.
I'm sure he thought I was nuts, but I've been out here for three years and I've never contacted anyone on Earth so I have no clue as to who could be sending me a letter.
I headed out to my original destination: the balcony. Ever since that fateful Sunday I'd been coming out here just to reflect on everything that's occurred since we've been in Atlantis.
The minute I saw the handwriting of the actual letter, my heart leapt into my throat. I can't believe she was actually writing to me. It'd been so long since I'd even spoken with Tina. As I told Ronon, I wasn't very good at being married.
I sent this to the Air Force in hopes that it would get to you. They would not say where you were but I wanted you to hear this from me and not from some random colonel.
John, your Father died two days ago. The doctors said it was a heart attack. He died with your name on his lips and had me write a letter to you from him. You will find it attached.
I am so sorry to have to tell you this way, but I had no other way to contact you. The funeral is tomorrow and I thought that maybe you'd want to be there. You are welcome to stay at my house while you're in town.
I stared at the letter with shaking hands as I pulled the other one from the envelope. Yeah my Dad and I didn't see eye to eye, but this was... I hardly know what to say about it.
With a deep breath, I began to read his letter.
'John, I have been watching you since you were stationed in Antarctica. And General O'Neill was giving me regular reports. I am very proud of you, Son. I know it never seemed like that would ever be possible, but I am. John, your Mother would be proud of you as well. She always knew how to put me in my place and would have too if she had still been alive when you came home from Afghanistan. Be strong, Son, and know that I will always love you.
I know you have probably forgotten about me completely and although you may think I have forgotten you, that could not be further from the truth.
Your Father, Michael Sheppard'
I have been watching you since you were stationed in Antarctica. And General O'Neill was giving me regular reports. I am very proud of you, Son. I know it never seemed like that would ever be possible, but I am.
John, your Mother would be proud of you as well. She always knew how to put me in my place and would have too if she had still been alive when you came home from Afghanistan. Be strong, Son, and know that I will always love you.
I think it was an hour before I finally moved from my spot on the balcony. If everything was planned for tomorrow then I had to let Elizabeth know what was going on.
I took a deep breath and headed up to the control room, trying to act non-chalant. Elizabeth smiled up at me when she saw me at her door. "What can I do for you, John?"
"This is going to sound a bit odd coming from me, but I was wondering if I could make a trip out to Earth as soon as possible."
"I do have to say it is odd. Why all the urgency?"
I glanced down at the letter in my hands and cleared my throat. "It's my Dad... he died a few days ago. I, um, kind of wanted to go to the funeral."
Elizabeth's eyes widened. Sure they all knew I had a family, but I rarely speak of them and as far as they knew I was completely disowned. Which wasn't all that far from the truth.
"John," she said standing. "I am so sorry. Are you all right?"
"I'll be fine, Elizabeth. Thanks. So... can I go."
"Of course! Take all the time you need!"
I stared at the house for a few minutes before thanking the driver and getting out of the car. The last time I was here Tina and were breaking things off. I loved Tina. I still do, but I just couldn't make the marriage work. Once we were married it was as if two strangers were living together and the night before I left for Afghanistan, Tina asked for a divorce. I didn't blame her, though.
I was about to ring the bell when Tina opened the door. She smiled sadly and I couldn't help thinking how beautiful she looked. "Hi, John," she said.
"Hey. You look great."
"You too. Please come in." I nodded and suddenly felt her arms around me. "I'm so sorry about your Father, John. I'm so sorry about everything! I've missed you."
I was about to reply when I felt something slam into my leg. A young boy with hazel green eyes was staring up at me. "Hi!" he said.
Tina cleared her throat. "Killian, would you please go play in your room? Remember, Mommy has to talk to her friend first."
"Tina..." I started as Killian ran off. She nodded, tears in her eyes. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I'm sorry, John. There were so many times when I wanted to, but as weak as an excuse it was, I just rationalized that I couldn't get in touch with you. And then I started wondering if you would lose interest in Killian if I told you."
I shook my head. "No, I would never lose interest in my son. Is that what you thought I did when I agreed to our divorce?"
Tina didn't answer and I wanted her to say no, but deep down inside I knew that was the truth. I did lose interest in her. I lost interest in the whole idea of being married.
"Damn it," I cursed. "I can't believe I was such an idiot! I hope you can forgive me and let me be a part of Killian's life now. I won't be able to come home often, but I would like to get to know my son."
Tina smiled. "Yes, John, I forgave you a long time ago. So did your Father. In fact, Killian has known him since he was born."
"Mommy, can I come out yet? I'm hungry."
"Of course, Killian, come on out," Tina said with a smile. "Besides, I think you know who I've talking to, don't you?"
Killian grinned and rushed out into the living room, grabbing me around the legs again. I bent down and scooped him into my arms. "Hey there, Killian. I'm sorry I haven't been here to see you growing up."
"It okay. You here now. Can we eat?"
I have to say it was a little awkward arriving at the funeral home to a roomful of seasoned Air Force Generals who most likely never forgave me for what happened in Afghanistan like Dad did. It was kind of them to wait until after the service and burial at Arlington. As I walked to Tina's car, General Waverly stepped up to me. "Colonel," he said with a sneer. "A word."
It was definitely an order.
I handed Killian to Tina and told her I'd be a minute. When we were out of earshot, the general spoke up. "I don't know what gives you the right to come out here!"
"Sir," I said, effectively cutting him off. "With all do respect, General Sheppard was my Father and any bad blood we had between us dissapated over the years. I would appreciate it if you would give me the same respect as you would him!"
I walked away with a grin. That felt really good. When I got back to the car, I felt Tina's eyes on me. "What?" I asked.
"Are you all right, John? You seem a little pale." "I'm fine."
Tina shook her head. "You still haven't changed. The last time you told me that, you nearly collapsed from the flu!"
"I guess good old Waverly shook me up more than I thought. He never failed to piss me off so why should today be any different?"
"Don't let him get to you, John," Tina replied. "He obviously doesn't know anything."
I smiled. "Thanks."
"Daddy, are you going to stay with us now?"
I swallowed around the lump in my throat as I tried to figure out how to break the news that I won't be staying with them.
"Killian, I'd love to, but I work very far away and it just wouldn't be possible."
Killian nodded, looking down at the floor of the car. "Can you call me?"
"No, but I can send you messages on the computer and real letters too!" John replied. "Would that be all right?"
"I guess so."
John glanced over at Tina as he took a deep breath. "Don't worry," she said. "I'll talk to him. I don't suppose you could tell me?"
"I can hardly believe it, John, but I understand why you would want to continue working there. Thank you for telling me about this."
"You have General O'Neill to thank for giving you security clearance," I replied. "I guess I'm just lucky to have a General on my side."
I heard Killian's soft footsteps on the carpet and turned to face him. "Daddy, why was Mommy so surprised? Can I know the surprise?"
"I was just telling her how much I love you and I'll miss you when I'm at work. Will you miss me too?"
"Yeah!" Killian exclaimed, jumping into my arms. "I love you, Daddy!"
"Welcome back, John," Elizabeth said.
I looked up from the cup of coffee I was staring at. "Thanks."
"How are you doing?" she asked, sitting across from me.
"All right. It was hard going back there and seeing certain people. Mostly Air Force Generals who don't like me very much, but I was able to reconcile with a few people."
She smiled. "I'm glad to hear that."
She looked at me expectantly as I debated whether or not to tell her about Tina and Killian. Before I could stop myself, I pulled a picture of them out of my wallet.
"This is my ex-wife Tina and my son Killian."
Elizabeth accepted the picture and stared at it in silence. "But I thought..."
"Yeah, so did I. Tina and I had a falling out before I was assigned to Antarctica. We divorced when she was pregnant with Killian. She didn't tell me because she thought I'd lose interest in him. To tell you the truth, I was so messed up at the time that I just might have."
"He looks just like you, John."
Elizabeth was about to hand it back to me when someone grabbed the photo. "Who are these people?"
"Rodney," I warned.
"Well???" I looked up at my team. Teyla and Ronon had naturally curious expressions on their faces and Rodney seemed ready to pop if I didn't answer him.
About an hour and three cups of coffee later, my team was informed about my life before coming to Atlantis. I think Teyla could tell I was exhausted so she kindly convinced Rodney that it was time for us to retire for the evening.
As he and I walked to our quarters, Rodney stopped, turning to face me. "What?" I asked.
"Happy Father's Day."
Dedicated to all the Fathers out there... Especially mine!